Bob Vinet recently dropped off an article featuring his seventeen-year-old granddaughter, Raygan Kirk. I don’t think he’s been this proud since being awarded a trophy at the RRCC staff curling wind-up in March of 1974.
Raygan, it turns out, had traveled with the Canadian women’s U18 team to Japan in January for the International Ice Hockey Federation’s World Championship. In net for the Gold Medal game, she stopped 25 of 27 shots and led Team Canada to a thrilling 3-2 overtime win over the United States. Then, to top it off, she was named most valuable player of the tournament. No wonder Bob is crowing.
Although born in Winnipeg in 2001, Raygan didn’t start playing hockey until she moved to hockey-mad Ste. Anne MB when she was seven. There must be something in the water of this town of 1,600. Ste. Anne had already produced four other Team Canada members: Bailey and Shelby Bram, and Jocelyne Larocque and Melanie Gagnon.
“I started out playing boys hockey and played with the boys right through my days in minor hockey. There were only two other girls and we all played together on the boys’ teams. Living in Ste. Anne, Bailey and Shelby Bram’s dad coached my team. Those girls would come and make presentations in my school. Everybody who played hockey in Ste. Anne looked up to them.”
Raygan started out playing defence, but she always wanted to be in net. Her younger brother had been a goalie right from the start, and she started to ask her parents about being a goaltender too. “No, you’re a really great defenseman”, they told her. And though she had been a key player on both boys teams and female dual rostered teams at that time, her folks eventually felt they had to let her try. So from then on she played defense with the boys, and goalie with the girls. When she finished Pee Wee, they said she had to make a choice for one position and play only female hockey.
The rest is history.
Thanks for sharing, Bob.